Thyroid Treatment

Time Required:
1 1/2 hours

What is a thyroid treatment?
Thyroid treatment is performed by giving radioactive iodine orally in the form of a capsule or liquid for the treatment of an overactive thyroid or thyroid cancer.

Why do I need a thyroid treatment?
Your doctor has chosen to treat you with a radioactive substance because of one of the following:

  1. Overactive thyroid gland
  2. Thyroid cancer

How do I prepare for my thyroid treatment?
You must have a thyroid uptake/scan or thyroid cancer evaluation within the past few weeks. You must have been off all thyroid medicine for a few days to a few weeks prior to your thyroid treatment. If you are female in the child-bearing age and have not had a hysterectomy or your "tubes tied", you will have a pregnancy test. This will be done by our laboratory prior to the dose of radioactive iodine on day one of your test.

What can I expect during the treatment?
For an overactive thyroid gland, you will have a conference with the nuclear physician, who will calculate the proper radioactive dosage for you. It takes approximately one hour for your capsule to arrive after it is ordered. At this point, you are free to go to the cafeteria or walk around. After about one hour, you will return to the Nuclear Medicine area and swallow the capsule.

For thyroid cancer treatment, the amount of radioactive capsule you will receive will be determined by the nuclear physician. For certain doses, you must be hospitalized and monitored. The nuclear physician will discuss this with you because there is more than one option available for the amount of radiation needed for your treatment.

What do I do after my thyroid treatment?
You must not become pregnant for two to three months. The nuclear physician will discuss other restrictions with you. These will include not holding or sleeping with small children, and avoiding sexual intercourse for two days. Follow-up will be done by your physician.

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